Description: In light of director Steve McQueen’s recent surge in popularity with the release of increasingly mainstream films like Hunger and Shame, it’s worth considering McQueen’s humble yet promising beginnings as something of a documentarian with an avant-garde sensibility. Western Deep, shot in 2002, is documentary in form, but experimental in terms of its aesthetic […]
Description: Kenneth Anger captures the ambiguity that lies at the heart of cinema. We sit before a screen as zealots kneeling before an altar. The image is presented as something worthy of consideration, contemplation, even idolatry. Cinema has, in other words, supplanted religion by inciting renewed interest in the occult. It’s no coincidence that James […]
Description: The setting is New York City circa the late 1950s. The subject of visual interest is “bridges.” The genre is “experimental film.” If your interest isn’t piqued yet, then you’re probably going to end up wanting these seven minutes and 43 seconds back.
Description: Gus Van Sant gears up for the success of Good Will Hunting by directing this oddball music video for Buzz Bin newcomer Allen Ginsberg. “Ballad of the Skeletons” (aka “A Ballad of American Skeletons” or “American Ballad of Skeletons”) is a poem that Ginsberg wrote during the weeks leading up to the 1996 presidential […]
Description: In 1977, at the age of 33, George Landow changed his name to Owen Land and put filmmaking aside for the following three decades. Prior to this hiatus, Landow had amassed a body of short experimental films that consistently challenged notions of avant-garde cinema. His earliest works not only anticipated and bled into the […]
Description: “Only a crisis, actual or perceived, produces real change.” Such is the central philosophy of what Naomi Klein refers to as “disaster capitalism,” the subject of her international bestseller The Shock Doctrine. Klein uses the ideas of economist Milton Friedman as a jumping-off point for discussing how unpopular free market policies have been sneakily […]
Description: Adam Curtis wrote and directed this three-part BBC documentary on the exploitation of fear for political ends during the war on terror. Curtis points to parallels in the rise of American neoconservatives and radical Islamists, and argues that the idea of al-Qaeda as a widespread, organized network of terrorists was one created by neo-cons […]
Description: With no dialogue, only the music of Philip Glass, and no characters other than the entire human race and the five elements, this years-in-the-making film is a symphony of sound and image–fast-paced, dazzling, and hypnotic. Seamless slow-motion and time-lapse photography creates a mind-expanding tone poem on the beauty of natural landscapes and the destructive […]
Description: Long before the Velvet Revolution, Godard and a loose collective of Marxist filmmakers traveled to Czechoslovakia to capture images of daily life. The raw footage was then edited–with much sarcasm–to convey that the evil grip of capitalism extends far into the ailing Communist Bloc.